Thursday, November 29, 2012

Down the dark road

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you make the whole trip that way." E.L. Doctorow

Along with multiple other quotes on writing from writers, I received this one from my doctor friend. If you've ever written fiction, making up characters who converse in your head and make you wonder if you need psychiatric help, you know what it's like driving in the dark. These characters sometimes do things you hadn't planned. You feel like slamming on the brakes and saying, "hold it, where are we going?" And other times, you feel like you are just along for the ride. You just hope somebody knows the road.

But isn't real life just like that? You may not know what is up ahead in the dark, but you still keep going.
 And sometimes I have just the right picture to go with my blog and sometimes you have to use your imagination. I took this in Las Vegas last March and the caption I used for it was "Someday I might need this picture". I guess someday is now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pictures of the Team

I have suddenly, inadvertently started writing one blog each week thanking all those who made my book possible. I should really start at the beginning and thank my team mates who endured the trip to Kenya with me. 
On the bus which was like our second home. Geoff, Teri, Tomas, Nate, Brandon, Kalea, Jon, Michelle and lots of  bananas, known as monkey-fingers. 

Kari, Val and Amanda - what beautiful girls! 
Carson, Nate, Brandon, Kari, Sarah, Val, Brea, Amanda. At the park Paradise Lost  
The kids at the Tanzania border while we were on safari in the Masa Mara game preserve 
In the yard at Pastor Joseph's home. 
Brea, Carson, Kari, Amanda, Val, Brandon, Sarah, Nate, Jen doing a skit for the orphans.
Michelle and Jen with the youngest orphan Chris
Ok, maybe you can't see them really well, but Kalea Tomas, Dave, Michelle, Amanda and Jon are in this picture. But also, way over on the left edge is what we used for a bathroom for two days and three nights. 
Anyway, thank you to the entire Life Missions team. You guys were great. I never would have survived those two weeks in Kenya without you. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving - a participation holiday

 Keep your roots deep in Christ Jesus, build your lives on him, and become stronger in your faith, as you were taught. And be filled with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7Good News Translation

Because my husband had to work on Thursday, we celebrated Thanksgiving Day on Saturday. It seems funny using the word “celebrate”. Celebrate makes it sound like we danced or sang, maybe jumped around a little or at the very least opened presents.

I suppose the better word to use would be “observe”. But to observe something makes it sound like we sat back and just watched it happen. Ok, I know that is what goes on in a lot of American households this time of year. After eating way too much turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie, many sit back and observe football games on TV. The rest of us nap.

I guess that’s why I can’t decide whether we celebrate or just observe.

Nope, I think I decided that the word should be celebrate after all. Giving thanks is definitely a participation activity and one which we should do every day, and not just the fourth Thursday of November.

What are you thankful for this year?
 Thank you Lord for filling this table with food and these chairs with my family. You bless me every day through out the year. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

OK, I refuse to get sappy

If you have been following my blog or if you know me personally, you know that the book I have been working on for six years is going to be published soon. You also know that this is all new to me and if you know me really well, you know that I have given up eating and sleeping to get this book ready for publication.

With this whole new getting-published thing, I am not sure about all of the proper protocols. At the end of the book, on that page entitled Acknowledgements, I list a lot (but unfortunately not all) of the people who have helped get this book to where it is, people who encouraged and supported me in various ways, people who helped send me on my trip to Africa. People who I believe are totally oblivious to the impact which they have on my life.

Last week, I mentioned one of those people, and I know that I did not do him justice. If you know Ron, though, you know that there are no words to describe him (I mean that in the best possible way). I am so blessed to have him in my life.

But I digress. Tonight I wanted to throw out there another one of the men in my life. He’s not just a co-worker; he is my boss, the doctor that I work for. At the end of the day, he is the one who has to be happy with my work. It helps if my patients are happy with me, too, I suppose.

Maybe I shouldn’t share the following story, but we writers have a saying. Everyone we meet is fodder for our stories and you might just end up in my next book.

Anyway, I had been driving 30 miles one way to work for twelve years, when an opening came up at the clinic here in town. I called up the manager, who I had worked for before, and asked if I could apply for the position. We set up a time for me to interview.

A few days later, I was in that manager’s office and she said she would go get the doctor so he could interview me too. He had seen my kids in the past so I already knew him, so it wasn’t really a big deal. He came in the office and asked, “Do you give shots?”

I answered that yes, I did. He said something like “good enough” and went back to work.

Some days are still like that, others not so much. But after twelve years, I'd like to hope it works.

Thanks, Russ, for everything. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you. And by the way, you haven’t brought us Lindt chocolates in a while.
Or some home-made chocolates would work too.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” Luke 10:40 New International Version

Friday morning, I brought the laptop upstairs from my basement office. I was tired of the lousy internet connection and thought maybe it was because the office is at the furthest point in the house from where the internet connects with the desktop computer in the living room. Actually, my wireless connection has been much better, so maybe that was the problem.

Here is the new problem. There are way more distractions in my living room than in the basement. I thought I had attention deficit before. You would not believe all the things there are to do in my living room that I can’t do in the basement. I even have a view out the window up here. Not to mention that the pets seem to prefer this big comfy chair I’m sitting in to my old creaky desk chair. The refrigerator is a lot closer too.

In the story of Martha and Mary, I am certainly Martha. I wouldn’t say she was distracted; she was uber-focused on the fact that there were all these preparations she had to . But in Jesus’ eyes, her attention was on all the wrong things. Wow, that is me sometimes.  

Lord, help me to focus on what is important. Help me to turn my attention to You and Your saving grace. Amen
And God, thank you so much for this distraction. I know that you sent Dino the wonder dog straight from heaven. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Go after your dream

"Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell." Charles de Lint

One of the many, many things that God has blessed me with is the wonderful caring people I work with. I know I maybe never show it, but hopefully they realize what they mean to me.

One of those people isn't just a co-worker, he is my next door neighbor. The other day he gave me a pile of inspiring writer's quotations. Out of everyone at work, I think he best understands what my writing means to me. I think it is because he understands the importance of having a dream and going after that dream with all of the passion you can muster. A big club helps too.

Ron, this book never would have happened without you. The rest of you can pre-order by clicking here, but Ron, your free copy will be autographed and hand-delivered just as soon as I have one in my hands.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

And this is how I rate...

Well, maybe Mom shouldn’t have changed her little story at the top of her blog page, coz now here I am writing her blog for her.

She has got a LOT going on this week, and I know she just doesn’t have time to write her blog. She had to work til seven last night and tonight she has a self-defense class with her kinship kid and then she is baking cookies at church. It doesn’t get better the rest of the week. Tomorrow night she is going out to eat with everyone from work and the night after that she has to pick Dad up in Rhinelander. I hope she doesn’t have anything going on Friday. She is going to need some rest by then. Oh, that’s right, on Friday she likes to work on her writing.

So here are pictures of me with the stupid cats. Why do they like me so much? Oh, that’s right, coz I’m the Wonder Dog.
Alice is that such a good place to lay?

Me and Ches. "Does this cat make my butt look fat?" ha, ha

PS And then did you notice that Mom moved my picture down lower on her blog, so that her book could be at the top. I suppose her book is pretty important to her right now, but really, Mom? That’s how I rate these days?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More Remembering

Get ready to fight, you and the whole company that’s been called out. Take charge and wait for orders. After a long time, you’ll be given your orders. In the distant future you’ll arrive at a country that has recovered from a devastating war. People from many nations will be gathered there on the mountains of Israel, for a long time now a wasteland. These people have been brought back from many countries and now live safe and secure. You’ll rise like a thunderstorm and roll in like clouds and cover the land, you and the massed troops with you. Ezekiel 38:7-9 The Message

As often happens, I’ve had many “God moments” again this week. I’ve been blessed with constant inspiration from above and sometimes I sit at the computer, hands on the keyboard, not knowing which of many things I should write about.

While going through my e-mail this morning, I read a blog post which reminded me what today was. November 11. Veteran’s Day. I wrote a post a while back in memory of my cousin Ben who died in Vietnam. What our veterans have done for our country, for our freedoms is staggering. Unless we have been in those battlefields, carried a weapon, slogged through mud and death how can we begin to fathom the sacrifices made for us.

Pause today and remember the men and women who have given so much, have given their lives so we can have our freedoms. Praise God that we don’t have to worship Him in secret, that we can meet on Sunday mornings in His house without fear.

Thank you Lord, for letting me live in a country where my freedom is guaranteed and thank you for all the men and women who have fought for that freedom. Let me not take that for granted. Amen

Friday, November 9, 2012

Party, now and later

Saturday night, the hubby and I attended a retirement party for one of the surgeons I used to work with. I hadn't seen most of these people in over ten years, since I moved onto my current position. I have talked to some of them on the phone or kept in touch by e-mail, but in general I've had very little one-on-one interaction with many of them.

E-mail and Facebook and all the other internet social networks are a great way to meet people and stay in touch with old friends. And since I tend to hole up at home, in my basement office writing, whenever I can, I really don't get out and see many people outside of work.  I also feel so pressed for time on a daily basis that I put off going out with friends or visiting relatives.

Sometimes I think that is really quite a shame. We humans are social animals. We need the touchie-feelies, whether we like to admit it or not. We need to work on the relationships we have, even if that means that the house doesn't get cleaned or we don't meet some deadline.

I wrote this on my lunch-half-hour at work yesterday. On the way home last night, I called my mom as usual to see if she needed anything. She said she had some bad news but wanted to wait to tell me until I got home. Really, Mom? You need to just tell me now.

Her uncle, who turned 104 years old in January, had passed away. We say that life is short, live it while you can. Uncle George's life couldn't be considered short and he did live fully right up until the end. It still leaves me very sad, with a bit of a hole in my heart. But I know that we will meet again, that one day in heaven we will have a party with all of my family and friends who are believers.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Thoughts

Will Rogers said, “Even if you are the right track, you’ll just get run over if you sit there.” I would switch that slightly to say, "It's ok to be middle of the road, but you'll get run over if you just sit there."

My other election day thought is, “If you are too open-minded, it will all just fall out.”
But mostly, and unfortunately, I just want the election to be over with, so that I stop getting all the annoying, pre-recorded phone calls and so that my mail box can once again be filled with nothing but bills. 

Shortly after my husband and I got married, I bought him a flag pole, because he always wanted one. Last year, I bought him a second one so that we can fly the Wisconsin state flag. My fear is that he wants a third one now so that he can fly the Green Bay Packer's flag. I guess it could be worse. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Everything Has Its Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born,
    And a time to die;
A time to plant,
    And a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill,
    And a time to heal;
A time to break down,
    And a time to build up;
A time to weep,
    And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn,
    And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones,
    And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace,
    And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain,
    And a time to lose;
A time to keep,
    And a time to throw away;
A time to tear,
    And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence,
    And a time to speak;
A time to love,
    And a time to hate;
A time of war,
    And a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3, New King James Version

What has happened to you this week which could only be done in God's time? 

(And yes, I know this post looks funny, once again - thank you, Blogger - but I don't have the time to fix it. God has other things for me to doing today.)